Professor Hagan Whiteleather
28 September 2017
Rhetorical Analysis of Benesch’s “Words as Weapons”
The title “Words as Weapons” can infer thoughts in numerous ways varying from person to person. “Words as Weapons,” published in 2012 in the World Policy Journal was an article written by Susan Benesch who took an intriguing look at some of many racial and cultural issues that are happening in society. Benesch begins building her credibility with facts and reputable sources, citing convincing facts and statistics, and successfully employing emotional appeals. However, it was her reasoning and facts that strengthened her credibility and ultimately supported her argument.
In the article, Benesch first sets the stage by describing how Julius Malemba, an African youth leader, on his 29th birthday began chanting “Dubulu iBhunu” (1) which meant “shoot the farmer” (1) when translated into Afrikaans. She talks about various ways in which cultures have been offended at times by one’s words and further discusses about the impact certain speeches and words can have on a community of people or culture, of which many of us do not consider because most issues like that, we don not see every day. She opens our eyes through her examples, reminding us of the issues that may not occur around us, but happen elsewhere.
Throughout the piece, Benesch uses many strong sources that strengthen her credibility and appeal to ethos, as well as build her argument. Some of the sources include, ‘Danish newspaper’ and ‘KTN Television Network’. Citing these sources boosts her credibility by showing that she has done her homework and has provided facts, as well as expert opinions to support her claim.
Adding to her ethos appeals, Benesch uses strong appeals to logos, with many facts and statistics and logical progressions of ideas. She points out how “Muslims from Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia learn that he prophet Mohammed has been lampooned by cartoonists at a provincial Danish newspaper (8)”. Benesch in addition states that the fall of the Apartheid system is one of several factors that “raised the stakes in many linguistic battlegrounds (9)”.
These points are a few of many that logically support her claim, that it is a substantial and real problem that many...